Out actor Jussie Smollett won't be
involved in the upcoming sixth season of Empire.
The renewal of Empire for a
sixth season was announced on Wednesday.
“By mutual agreement, the studio has
negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett’s option for Season 6,
but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to
return to Empire,” Fox Entertainment and 20th
Century Fox TV said in a joint statement.
In the show, Smollett played Jamal
Lyon, the openly gay son of Lucious Lyon (played by Terrence Howard).
In his final appearance on the show, Smollett's character married his
boyfriend Kai (Toby Onwumere).
makes history with first gay, black wedding on primetime television.)
A spokesperson for Smollett told
Variety that the actor “appreciates they have extended his
contract to keep Jamal's future open” and is “grateful to Fox and
Empire leadership, cast, crew, and fans for their unwavering
Smollett's career faces uncertainty as
he continues to face fallout related to an alleged hate crime in
January. Police in Chicago claim that the actor hired two brothers to
stage the attack. While all
charges against Smollett were dropped, the city is suing Smollett
for the cost of the investigation. The brothers have also filed a
lawsuit against Smollett's attorneys for defamation. Smollett
maintains he's innocent.